Main Image: 96five was once again a proud sponsor of the Lord Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast (Justin Rouillon).
The Lord Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast is now in its 17th year, and has become an eagerly anticipated event on the calendar for the Christian community in Brisbane.
The event provides and opportunity for Brisbane’s Christian community to join together, pray for the city and to focus attention on an area of need.
Interest rate rises and the cost of living crisis has only added pressure to the already pressing issue of homelessness, so it only seemed appropriate that this was the focus for this year’s breakfast.
Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner opened proceedings with an address reflecting on how hope can be lost by someone experiencing homelessness.
“If you talked to 100 people in Brisbane you would find an incredible mix of people, with some people saying that the future is bright, and they look forward to the future with hope,” the Lord Mayor said. “But you would also find a number of people who don’t see it that way, who are struggling and who do not have hope.”
“One of the most significant signs of that lack of hope is the very visible presence of homelessness in our community.”
The Lord Mayor said that the current level of homelessness is the worst that Brisbane has ever seen. He also thanked the Brisbane Christian community for their help in the fight against homelessness, saying that it is an issue that can not be solely fixed by government.
“Without the frontline organisations – the churches and the charities, it would never really be possible to make ground against the challenge of homelessness. It’s not an issue that can be fixed simply by throwing money at it, or by a policy change.
“In the end, it is about that fundamental principle of giving people hope. That hope will not be given by governments, it will be given by people on the frontline with a one-on-one basis providing that sense of hope.”
The Lord Mayor concluded his opening address by stating that it was the Christian community’s responsibility to provide hope to those in Brisbane.
“Our responsibility is that more people in the community have hope, meaning and connection.”
The keynote address for this year’s breakfast came from Jasmine Lind, Wesley Mission’s manager for housing and homelessness, who reflected on how organisations need to think about these challenges.
“At Wesley Mission, we realised that if you are going to make any dent in housing and homelessness services, we needed to look at the whole person; all of the factors that contribute to housing and homelessness stress.
“You also need to look at the factors that increase vulnerability and the reason why life is not working out – some of those are in household’s control, and some are not.”
Ms Lind also touched on the power of connection, especially when working with younger people at risk of homelessness.
“We provide a range of services, but it’s about connection. It’s about talking with each other and what we often hear is that someone will be appreciative of having been provided accomodation, but what they are more appreciative of is the person who asked me how their day was.”
The event was also led in prayer by a number of church and community leaders, each with a different focus. Thy were:
- Reverend Peter Sweetman (Founding Pastor, Bridgeman Baptist Community Church), who prayed for civic and church leaders.
- Ms Elaine Rae (Wesley Mission Queensland Board), who prayed for the needs of the world.
- Deacon Clint McGoldrick (Chaplain, Australian Army), who prayed for reconciliation with First Nations people.
- Ms Margit Hubbers (Lutheran Church Australia, QLD District), who prayed for the business community.
- Mr Brett McLeod (New Hope Care), who prayed for the arts and media sectors.
Listen to the addresses and prayers from this year’s prayer breakfast in the audio player above.